Since you’re reading this, you already know at least one of us, and know that we’re taking about a year off to travel around the world. We’ve gotten a lot of the same questions from people so thought we’d put them down here.
Q: Where are you going?
A: We don’t have a set itinerary, and have made no plans past December 31. We are planning this trip as we go because we want the flexibility to stay in places we like and leave places we don’t. This isn’t a “bucket list” trip, or a trip with set goals; this is simply taking a year off from our normal lives to travel and have an adventure, whatever that turns out to be.
We are starting in Buenos Aires on December 4. On December 21, we fly to the southern tip of South America — Ushuaia, Argentina — where we’ll get on a boat and head to Antarctica, returning to Ushuaia on December 31. After that we plan to backpack in Patagonia, and then maybe rent a vehicle and take about a month to drive some/most of the Carretera Austral in Chile, which is apparently one of the world’s great road trips. And if we love South America, we are open to staying here the entire time! Otherwise, we’ll head west next.
Q: How long are you going to be gone?
A: We’re thinking it will be about a year. We’ve obviously never done something like this before, so we have no idea how it’s going to go. If we want to come home in six months, we’ll come home in six months. And if we want to continue traveling after a year and are able to do it, we’ll do that.
Q: Are you going on your sailboat?
A: Although Peter would have liked to, no, we’re doing this on planes, trains, and buses.
Q: What did you do about your jobs?
A: Denise works for herself, so she is taking a sabbatical. Peter quit his job. He didn’t ask for a leave of absence because a year would be a long time to ask for, and we didn’t want to be pinned down to a return date.
Q: What are you doing with your house?
A: We are renting it out.
Q: Where are your cats and chickens?
A: Our cats are staying with our friends, Milt and Reba. They just lost their cat after 18 1/2 years so it was a perfect situation and we are very grateful to them for taking the cats while we’re gone. The two remaining chickens were not laying any more (too old), no one wants non-laying hens for pets, so they are now in someone’s freezer. Yes, we’re okay with this because (a) they are not pets; and (b) if we were not okay with this, we shouldn’t have chickens.
Q: What gave you the idea to take this trip?
A: See the “about” page.
Q: Do you speak Spanish or any other languages?
A: We tried to learn some basic Spanish before we left, as that would be the most useful language for this trip. We took classes that at this point seem to have largely gone in one ear and out the other. It would have helped had we practiced! We are thinking about doing an immersion Spanish class in Buenos Aires, but if we don’t, we’ve both traveled enough to places where no one speaks English so it’s not a big deal. We both speak enough French, and Denise speaks enough German, to get by pretty easily.
Q: Why in the world would you want to go to Antarctica???
A: Because it’s right up our alley: Antarctica is an amazing place that is largely untouched by humanity where you see incredible scenery and wildlife. To take a quote out of our Antarctica brochure, Antarctica is “the only place on earth that is still as it should be. May we never tame it.” We’re here the right time of year, and wanted to do something special for Christmas, so why not?
Q: How are you getting to Antarctica and where do you stay?
A: We are taking a boat (approx 190 passengers), and we’re staying on the boat. We’ll go out a few times a day in Zodiac boats, either landing on the Antarctic Peninsula to walk around, or cruising around on the boats looking at animals and ice bergs.
Q: Are you excited?
A: As of Dec 3, candidly, no. What we are is exhausted. We just lived though two months’ of constant, high stress, during which time there really wasn’t any time or brain power left to get excited. This is also still very surreal, and the reality of what we’re doing — and any accompanying excitement — is not likely going to kick in for a few weeks. But we’re sure it will :)